Summary: Ever wonder at what line a Christian crosses that makes money a trap and sin in their spiritual walk with Jesus? In this sermon I am going to outline a basic truth: putting trust in money and wealth and not God is a sin.

For the Love of Money?

1 Timothy 6:6-19

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The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines money as a “medium of exchange” for goods and/or services. While one could barter to obtain the necessities of life such as food, shelter and clothing for most people it is more efficient to use money. Even though God commands us to not worry about obtaining necessities (Matthew 6:25) we are still to work to obtain them (2 Thessalonians 3:10). Considering this truth then why does Apostle Paul say, “for the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil”? While we know that Paul was not against material possessions like the Gnostics were in his day, he was very concerned that money and the accumulation of wealth would be sought and as such would intoxicate believers to place their hope in their own abilities and the present age rather than in a sovereign God who held their eternal future in His hands! This sermon is going to begin by describing how the love of money can pull a Christians “down into ruin and destruction” (verse 9). The second part of this sermon is going to focus on how our true “wealth” is to be found in obedience to Christ and the “pursuit of righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness” (verse 11). And the final part of this sermon is going to answer the age-old question: is it ok in God’s sight to be materially wealthy?

Being Dragged Down (verses 6-10)

In writing his letter to Timothy Paul warned him that false teachers were so intoxicated with money that they were “selling” untruths concerning Christ to “cash in on the upsurge of evangelicalism in Ephesus.” While they were not as bold as Simon who tried to buy and sell the Holy Spirit’s power (Acts 8:18), they had no problem trying to sell a form of “godliness” (2 Timothy 3:5) to those who merely wanted to hear what their “itching ears wanted to hear” (4:3)! While those who give sacrificially to the kingdom of God are arguably worthy of a wage (1 Timothy 5:17-19), Paul warned Timothy how easily Christians can become intoxicated with the money these types of services can bring. The godliness market which is “hot for booksellers and music makers and dispensers of silver crosses,” tempts just as many charlatans’ to join as it does good Christian leaders to make money their god! The motives of some Christian leaders are so tainted with a love of money that ecclesiastical crime or embezzlement has been estimated to be about 37 billion dollars per year, worldwide!

In verse six Paul reminded Timothy that godliness is a great gift only when accompanied by contentment. Unlike the Stoic and Cynic philosophers of his day “contentment” for Paul did not “mean self-sufficiency or the ability to rely on one’s own inner resources” but being pleased with whatever gifts that God has given you! Hording wealth out of covetousness or out of fear of going without is a sin because being content in life is not to be dependent on material circumstances but on faith that a risen Savior will do good to those who love Him (Romans 8:28)! The love of money is also foolish because it is transient in nature. Every time we see a baby born or bury a loved one we are reminded the truth of Job’s statement “naked I came from my mother’s womb and naked will I depart” (1:21). In one of his sermons John Piper gave the following story to accentuate this point:

Suppose someone passes empty-handed through the turnstiles at a big city art museum and begins to take the pictures off the wall and carry them importantly under his arm. You come up to him and say, “What are you doing?” He answers, “I’m becoming an art collector.” “But they’re not really yours,” you say, “and besides they won’t let you out with those. You’ll have to go out just like you came in.” But he answers again, “Sure they’re mine. I’ve got them under my arm. People look at me as an important dealer in the halls. And I don’t bother myself with thoughts about leaving. Don’t be a kill joy.” We would call this man a fool—out of touch with reality. So is the person who spends himself to get rich in this life. We will go out just the way we came in.

Paul is not saying that it is a sin to be good Stuarts of the material things God has given or to provide for one’s family but that seeking material gain is irrelevant and greed is irrational. The only riches one can take beyond the grave are those that one has stored up in heaven (Matthew 6:19-21) through faithfully obeying God’s command to love Him and one another (Matthew 22:36-40)!

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